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9 April, 2021

Climate scientist approved for case against Narrabri Gas Project (NGP)

The NSW Land and Environment Court has granted permission for a prominent climate scientist to provide evidence in a legal challenge to the Narrabri Gas Project.

By Emily Middleton

Photo via Unsplash.

If Santos’ 850-well gasfield goes ahead, it will be responsible for a total of nearly 130 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This is equivalent to roughly a quarter of Australia’s annual greenhouse emissions.

Farmers from the Mullaley Gas Pipeline Accord (MGPA) group have sought the court’s review of the independent planning commission’s decision to approve Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project.

On Tuesday, March 23, the permittance to provide evidence of the issues relating to climate change from former Australian chief scientist professor Penny Sackett, was ruled by Justice Pain.

This decision is significant because expert advice is rarely permitted in a judicial review case such as this. 

The MGPA’s application was opposed by Santos on the basis that ‘expert advice was not required in the proceedings’. Represented by the Environmental Defenders Office, MGPA farmers are arguing the IPC did not assess the gasfields climate impacts in a way that was consistent with the law, and failed to assess the impacts of an external pipeline which would be needed to transport gas.

“We are extremely pleased professor Penny Sackett’s expert testimony will be considered,” said MGPA secretary Maddy Adams.

“Farmers are increasingly bearing the brunt of unpredictable and extreme climatic events.

“These extreme weather events are having a direct impact on our lives and livelihoods.

“That’s why we believed it was so important that an esteemed expert like professor Penny Sackett be able to provide evidence to the court to support our legal arguments relating to climate change,” said Ms Adams

The matter has been listed for final hearing for three days beginning August 30, 2021

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